One of the wonderful things about Christmas in Killarney when you stay at Killarney’s Holiday Village is the variety of options you have for walking off your Christmas dinner. Whether you want a gentle stroll before collapsing in front of the TV or a more challenging hike to get the metabolism firing, Killarney is the place to be this festive season. Here are some of our favourite Christmas walks:
Start your walk at the Golden Gates entrance to the Killarney Demesne, about 2km from Killarney’s Holiday Village, and discover the beautifully restored Killarney House, former home of Lord Kenmare. The Kenmares turned the stables of the 18th-century Kenmare House into what we now call Killarney House, where the beloved Cherry Tree Walk has been restored, and the painstakingly refurbished gardens lead your eye to the stunning mountain views. Take a gentle stroll from there to the other Demesne entrance, directly in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral. There you will find a fairy-tale thatched cottage called Deenagh Lodge, which serves as a starting point for several loop walks.
The Old Kenmare Road
For something a little more challenging, make your way to the upper car park at Torc, about 4.7km from Killarney’s Holiday Village. You don’t have to complete the entire Old Kenmare Road, which, as the name suggests is the original road between Killarney and Tralee, but if you do, you will be rewarded with about 16km (one way) of wild beauty. The route is part of the long-distance Kerry Way trail, and is one of the most popular sections of it. Enjoy panoramic views of the ancient Killarney mountains and fragments of ancient oak woods. You may spot the occasional red deer in the distance and see ravens wheeling overhead. This is a memorable way to walk up an appetite for turkey sandwiches!
Eight kilometres may not sound that long, but you will feel every step of the first section of the aptly named Cardiac Hill. Starting about 5km from Killarney’s Holiday Village, Cardiac Hill is a challenging ascent up hundreds of steps across the face of Torc Mountain. As you pant up the hill, rest assured that the effort will be worth it. Stop at the top of the steps, admire the forests you have climbed through, and the sweeping views of the McGillycuddy Reeks, Lakes of Killarney and Killarney National Park. Once you catch your breath, you can relax as you ramble along the face of Torc and descend through the woods to a junction that brings you left to the starting point of your walk.
What’s your favourite Christmas walk in Killarney?
We’d love to hear from you!